Chancellor of Chichester Cathedral steps down to become Dean of Portsmouth

The Chancellor of Chichester Cathedral, the Rev Canon Dr Anthony Cane, will look back on the happiest years of his working life as he moves on to new challenges.

Anthony Cane
Anthony Cane

Anthony will take with him fond memories of his time in Chichester as he takes up the position of Dean of Portsmouth. He will be installed in the post on March 16.

Anthony, who was in Chichester for 11 years and four months, was also one of the founders of the Festival of Chichester and a governor at the University of Chichester for ten years.

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He was in Hastings before he came to Chichester, he recalls: “I received a telephone call from the Bishop and I thought either I had committed some infringement that I was not aware of or he was going to offer me a job!”

Anthony Cane

Fortunately it was the latter, and after going through a recruitment process, Anthony was ratified in a role steeped in history.

As Anthony says, the word chancellor has been used in so many different contexts that it doesn’t immediately give an idea what it means in a cathedral setting: “But in Chichester it is an ancient title that goes back to 1168, and I have a stall in Chichester Cathedral where every single one of my predecessors has sat, which is quite a sobering thought. It’s a thought that is good for the soul and gives you perspective!”

In practice, it has meant overseeing two cathedral departments, the learning and engagement department and also the marketing and communications department. He has also looked after other areas of the cathedral including the library, exhibitions and installations.

Looking back, Anthony says he would like to think he has contributed to the friendly welcome for which Chichester Cathedral is renowned, a reflection in part of its relatively-intimate size.

“For me, it has all been part of the happiest part of my working life. The cathedral is a place of possibility and imagination. The potential for doing things differently and for working with others in partnership has just been fantastic. The resources are there. There is a large lay staff. In the learning and engagement department there were two members of staff when I started, and now it is four and also about 50 volunteers who are highly skilled. It means that we have been able to do an incredible variety of work and also significantly broaden the scope of the learning and educational work that we do. We work with Sussex Young Carers, and we have introduced learning opportunities for people with dementia, and we have worked with a whole host of Chichester bodies.”

Intrinsic to the day have been prayers in the cathedral in the morning and also choral evensong: “In my previous job I was working a lot by myself. It was wonderful to come together with colleagues in the morning and then again in the evening.”

However, Anthony recognised it was perhaps time for new challenges: “I guess after 11 years at the cathedral and given my age, 57, I had got to the point where I realised that 11 years could become 20 and that I would retire from Chichester and that I would have been very happy if that had been the case.

“But I felt that one more challenge was right, and if I was going to do it, then it needed to be now. I have been an occasional visitor to Portsmouth in my time at Chichester, and then the position of Dean of Portsmouth came up.”

A very different cathedral in a very different city: “I am looking forward to it, but certainly there will be sadness in leaving Chichester.

“I have loved being part of the Festival of Chichester right from the start. It has been a real privilege. I have really enjoyed working with the arts community of Chichester and the surrounding area.”